The IVAA-AAA researchers’ exchange

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This August, the Asia Art Archive welcomed visiting researcher Grace Samboh from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Grace was selected by the Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA) to spend two weeks at the AAA in Hong Kong, in order to undertake comparative studies of the two institutes. In 2009, Grace was one of the researchers who explored the IVAA – the research results were presented in an archive exhibition entitled ‘Biennale Jogja 21 Years Retrospective (1988-2009)’.

We would like to thank the following individuals for their participation in Grace’s interviews in Hong Kong: John Batten, David Chan, Henri Chen Phin-hua, Alvis Choi, Choi Yan-chi, David Clarke, Hitomi Hasegawa, Kobe Ho, Oscar Ho, Jaffa Lam, Lam Tung-pang, Jaspar Lau Kin-wah, Warren Leung Chi-wo, Jeff Leung Chin-fung, Susie Law, Tozer Pak Sheung-chuen, Ellen Pau, Tiffany Pinkstone, Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, Tse Yin-mo, Wen Yau, Kacey Wong and Yang Yeung. (More images, click here.)

The IVAA-AAA Researcher Exchange Programme 2010 is supported by Arts Network Asia (ANA).


20101006 Perpusda Malioboro

Homecoming presentation with IVAA
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
15.00 – 17.00 WIB
BPAD-Unit Malioboro/Perpustakaan Daerah (R.Audio Visual)
Jl. Malioboro 175, Yogyakarta



In a systemless country like ours, I consider self-archiving as a very important activity in career building, both for individuals and groups. I believe that it is also one of the most important elements in a country that does not recognize artist in their occupation category, like Hong Kong. Let me, first, explain what I meant as systemless country. Almost all forms of science (unfortunately, yet true) still see things in Western standards and, therefore, perspectives. A country without a properly working educational curriculum, national museums (let alone galleries) like mine, makes history writing rather hard and sometimes almost impossible.
Of course I didn’t mean there weren’t any, just that they’re a little hard to look for (you must know the right person and the right place). What matters in history is evidence, proof, artifacts, or whatever it is people want the label it. No documentation almost means that there’s no proof, and in this digital and visual era, they say that “No picture is hoax.” With no, or, say, minimum support from the government, not-for-profit organizations, artists, writers, researchers, even teachers, and almost every element in the creative industry must do (almost) everything by themselves. In which, I believe that self-archiving is one of the most important element in surviving.

Actually, the title of my research for IVAA-AAA Exchange Research Program has altered from “Do-It-Yourself archiving” to “Privately archiving for the public” due to the limited time and budget for the first title. Though so, during my interviews for the latter title, I managed to meet a number of artists who has unique styles of self-archiving. Therefore, this presentation will be sharing you about how artists’ archive themselves. After the digital-camera era, most likely what’ll be found are pictures of final artworks (both in studio or in exhibition spaces), exhibition openings and works on progress. Some might still keep physically documented sketches (instead of the digitized ones, both scanned or photographed). But, by my experience, I’ve even met artists who ‘froze’ their objects/models in a rather permanent form (such as freezing them in resins).

Interested in revealing how artists’ archive themselves? ‘Till we meet at the presentation!

September 2010

About Grace Samboh

Believes in unicorn, conviviality and the struggle towards collective subjectivities—even temporarily.
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